Schneider v. Smith

LOCATION: Spokane County Superior Court

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)

CITATION: 390 US 17 (1968)
ARGUED: Dec 12, 1967 / Dec 13, 1967
DECIDED: Jan 16, 1968

Facts of the case


Media for Schneider v. Smith

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 13, 1967 in Schneider v. Smith

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 12, 1967 in Schneider v. Smith

Earl Warren:

Number 196, Herbert Schneider versus Willard J. Smith, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.

Leonard Schroeter:

Mr. Chief Justice --

Earl Warren:

Mr. Schroeter.

Leonard Schroeter:

I'm Sorry, Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case arises as a consequence of an order of this Court which postponed further consideration of the question of probable jurisdiction to a hearing of the case in the merits.

Under this Court's orders and its rules counsel should address themselves with the outside -- outset of their brief and oral argument to the question of the jurisdiction.

This is in appeal from the final judgment of the three-judge Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2282.

The complaint of the appellant asked the Court to declaratory an injunctive relief when constitutional grounds from the application of 50 U.S.C. 191, which is commonly known as the "Magnuson Act".

It was alleged that the Act was unconstitutional and it was vague.

And it was contended below that there was unconstitutional delegation to the executive of legislative power.

The court below accepted jurisdiction.

Now this was a proper case for the invocation of the three-judge court and thus, for this appeal.

The Government concedes in their brief that this Court does have jurisdiction of the appeal.

And both the Solicitor General and the appellant state that these questions are substantial and that Zemel versus Rusk is authoritative and is positive of this question.

Zemel further makes it clear as thus, the issue that jurisdiction haven't been established.

This Court will consider the statutory and regulatory schemes as a whole.

Now, the Magnuson Act under which this case arises was introduced into Congress in July of 1950, less than one month after the Korean War began.

Now, this was all of us on sure recall, a time of great anxiety of this nation.

The Act has cast the House of Representatives with no debate and the Senate with virtually none.

It purported to a man the World War I statute regulating the anchorage and movement of vessels during national emergency by permitting the President to exercise authority other than by the proclamation of National Emergency which he was permitted to do.

And secondly, by extending the authority of the President to: ports, harbors, and waterfront facilities.

The President by executive order shortly thereafter found that "The security of the United States is endangered by reason of subversive activity", and prescribed regulations that delegated his authority to the Coast Guard.

A Commandant of the Coast Guard by such regulations required that as a precondition of maritime employment.

The maritime workers must be issued a specially validated emergency endorsement.

No person shall be issued such a document which is required for an employment nor may he be employed unless "That Commandant is satisfied that the character and habit of life of such person are such to authorize the belief that his employment would not be inimicable to the security of the United States."

Now these regulations pursuant to the executive order, where the genesis of what we know as the Maritime Security Screening Program.

This program is the only Government to one private employment that blankets an entire industry.

It's the only program that covers private employment all together except for the defense contractor security program where the employer, is of course, the contractor of the federal government dealing with classified information.

Although, originally proposed as an emergency measure by the Attorney General who requested that the authority that was given should expire on a specific date.

By 1956, well over 800,000 men have been screened under this program and more than 3,700 of them have been denied employment or removed from employment.